PRESS RELEASE: United Nations joins South Africans to observer the Human Rights Day

Pretoria, South Africa: The United Nations in South Africa joins all South Africans in commemorating the Human Rights Day (21 March), which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The day was borne when, on that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, against the apartheid “pass laws”.

Since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa has indeed made great strides in advocating good human rights practices as found in its institutions across all sectors including labour, education and gender equality. The country has also kept the debate around racism alive, taking action against those who preach hate speech or engage in other derogatory racist practices.

While much more can be done to ensure no-one is left behind in the pursuit of human rights for all, the UN in South Africa is committed to working with the government, civil society and other institutions to advance human rights practices in this country. This year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is: Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.

For further information, please contact:
Zeenat Abdool, UN Information Centre in Pretoria, Tel. +27-12-354-8507; Cell: +27-82-778-8080; Email: abdool@un.org